The Krakow Rugby Festival has a look back over some of the wonderful and sometimes excruciating but hilarious moments created by design, nature or rugby players just enjoying themselves. The KRF began in 2016 in collaboration with Krakow’s premier rugby union league side Juvenia Krakow RFC. The first ever international tournament to be hosted in Krakow proved to be a success with teams playing rugby 10s. Initially, only men’s teams participated but with the growing interest and popularity of the KRF the organisers introduced women’s 7s in 2018. The winning formula of the KRF is the attention to detail and promoting the unique atmosphere of the 150 year old Spirit of Rugby. Every year in the 3rd week of June Krakow is inundated with rugby players and enthusiasts from all over the world to experience the hospitality and rugby challenges at the Juvenia stadium and not only. The organisers provide all essential services from the moment you land at Krakow’s Balice Airport with transfers to accommodation which can be reserved by the KRF staff along with pitch transfers and the rugger player’s social requirement of unlimited beer and cider for the duration of the KRF which begins with an induction party on the Friday, Saturday qualifiers and Sunday finals then ending with the Grand Gala dinner in the evening.
Although the KRF has been on hold since the pandemic the rugby festival looks set to make a comeback in 2022 with several international teams already registered. This prompted a look back and trip down memory lane from the last KRF to take place in 2019.
The rugby weekend saw male and female teams from Dublin, Edinburgh, Seoul, Bristol, Alfreton near Nottingham and Bordeaux including two local representative teams from Juvenia Krakow. Some clubs with large groups entered 2 teams. Our tournament referees were from the Bristol Referees Association plus a well-known Krakow ref joined in the rugby fun.
The Krakow Rugby Festival always begins on the Friday night of the 3rd week in June every year with an exclusive venue for the Induction Party, free flowing beer and cider from 8pm to midnight, live music and DJ. The teams usually follow some form of dress code that identifies the team to full blown fancy dress.
The Induction Party is your first challenge of the weekend of rugby related matters, as the organisers say, ‘Do you have the ovals to complete it?’.
The Saturday begins with the KRF Guides banging on accommodation doors to rally the players down to the KRF courtesy bus after a euphoric and boozy night which takes them to the stadium for a day of qualifier matches for the three categories of Champions, Elite and Kracking. Depending on where your team finishes in the group stage determines which category you have a chance to win a cup, trophy or plate in the finals scheduled for Sunday. At the ground breakfast is already cooking pitch-side and the all day bars are ready to serve you non-stop.
Breakfast and lunch provided plus the nectar of the gods in hand from 10 till 6.
Some rugby action shots of the qualifier stage.
Saturday evening is a ‘free night’ for the teams to discover the Krakow nightlife or sights. The KRF staff offer a Guided Pub Crawl and free dance club tickets should you wish to join them.
Sunday is Finals Day plus the added attractions of a Sport Massage Tent, Live Band pitch-side, Drop Kick The Bucket skill competition and the WWII Stretcher Race. Once again the beer kegs are primed for action and the delicious breakfast and lunch menus are being prepared on the grill. The quality of rugby has been competitive and entertaining with the semi-finals for each category decided and ready to go. Also, a few Golden Moments are already on the award list.
The Slider Try is another extremely popular challenge as you are given a pint to drink or whatever if you can score a try under the posts on the water and baby oiled up tarpaulin, however, all players enjoyed a Slider Moment before, after and during the matches also in lunch beaks and requests were made for particular individuals to do a Slider. The trophy table is on show and the KRF Speaker or Slider Man as he has become known because he incites players to score under the posts had to do his own exhibition Slider run
Girls just having fun & end of match Slider
Gleaming KRF Trophies & WWII Stretcher Race + vodka & beer bong
Albi’s Dave Venables with Juvenia Club President Leszek happy to present the cups.
The finals are complete and the winners come up to receive their awards from the National 1 League side Plymouth Albion RFC’s owner Dave Venables and his management team who were the honoured guests at the KRF 2019 with the aim of initiating collaboration with Juvenia Krakow Rugby club.
The KRF Champions 2019 for the men, The Mighty Bovs & for the women Juvenia Krakow Kobiety.
The buses arrived to relay the players to their accommodation to freshen up the Grand Gala Dinner and a sing-off, with all teams present belting out their club anthem, initiation rituals for 1st time tour players and the KRF Charity Auction.
A few Golden Moment nominees captured during the full on weekend of exhibition rugby and true Spirit of Rugby that Krakow, KRF and Juvenia Rugby are proud to be the host of.
KRF Mascots double photo bomb & beer boarding
Amber Valley Rugby Police stop & search & Naked Rugby Cyclist with Beer, a classic at rugby matches, festivals and tournaments.
The KRF 2019 look back as a reminder for the upcoming KRF 2022 with the men’s KRF Champions returning to defend their title and bringing the women’s team with them. Registration is open for official team tours or summer rugby friend teams and non-players are welcome too.